IN 2014, it seemed like the Scottish people were on the brink of losing their collective mind, and were about to vote for an economically suicidal independence proposal. However, we looked into that abyss, and enough of us had the good sense to turn back.
Since then, we have seen two cataclysmic votes: the UK’s EU referendum and the US Presidential election. In each of these, voters have chosen intellectually contradictory and practically unsustainable paths, which will have far-reaching and potentially extremely damaging consequences for themselves and for the world.
Scots can congratulate themselves on the result of the 2014 referendum: by remaining part of the UK, we are in a better position to face this uncertain and dangerous future. At the time it looked like a flirtation with disaster, but it is now clear that by its No vote, Scotland proved itself to be an island of rational scepticism in a growing tide of irrational populism.
Peter A Russell,
My translation and the original poem, along with my commentary (which was required as part of the entry) are here: Stephen Spender Trust website.
The comments by judge Sean O’Brien are also published in Guardian online here: Guardian online.
Many thanks to everyone who has offered their congratulations. I am quite knocked out.
IT is indeed very bad news that 20,000 Scottish children will suffer because of the forthcoming welfare cuts (“May’s squeeze on benefits limit to hit 20,000 children”, the Herald, November 1). What is especially galling is that this situation was wholly avoidable.
In May this year, voters had a clear choice, between two types of Scotland.
One was to maintain current levels of taxation and with them, the known prospect of cuts in public expenditure, including welfare benefits. The alternative Scotland that was offered to the voters was a modest increase in taxation to fund protection for the most vulnerable, including these least well-off children.
In other words, the choice was between the SNP-Tory low-tax low-welfare model, and the Labour social democratic higher-tax higher-welfare model. Regrettably, the voters chose the more right-wing and less socially just model.
That was, of course, their right; but at the same time every single Scot who voted SNP or Tory has forfeited all right to complain about the path that they chose – in full knowledge of the likely consequences.
In short: if you voted SNP when people needed the protection of a Scottish government that would use its powers to protect them from the Tories, you are to blame. No-one else.
Peter A Russell,